Neil Abt, editorial director at the Transport Topics blog, normally writes stories about government and industry issues relating to the trucking industry. But on Oct. 20, his blog revealed that Paul McCartney had been this year’s surprise guest at the annual Freightliner customer appreciation event that was held the night before at the Philadelphia Convention Center in Pennsylvania. The former Beatle performed an intimate concert for the crowd, estimated to be around 1,000 people. The surprise guest is an annual highlight of the dinner.
“It is the Freightliner customer dinner. That company is owned by Daimler Trucks North America,” Abt explained. “President and CEO Martin Daum says a few words and tells jokes after dinner. He was the one who said it was Paul.” McCartney’s wife, Nancy Shevell, is the reason why Paul was there. She is an executive with New England Motor Freight, which is owned by her father, Myron.
Abt said the attendees got a little bit of an idea what was about to happen. “Normally, like last year with the Eagles, we don’t know until the band takes the stage. But in this case because we were leaving the dinner seating into a ‘club’ they created behind the curtain where we were eating he had to say who it was and explain we should take our things and move into the club area and once everyone picked a seat or got to the dance floor. Then the band came out.”
He said McCartney talked to the crowd a lot. “He interacted with the audience between songs, asking to get a guy in front a fresh glass of wine and inquiring about who were drivers or sales people, etc. He talked about his wife’s trucking company as well.” The show included a video screen behind the band, as he does in his regular shows. McCartney’s photographer, MJ Kim, posted a photo of the band playing on Instagram.
And Abt said the show, which lasted about two hours, was wonderful. “They were fantastic. (He) had plenty of instrument changes and it really felt in every way it was a normal, real concert, just with 1,000 instead of 30,000,” he said. “It was hit after hit after hit after hit, with a new song or two mixed in. Beatles heavy of course but also some Wings, too,” Abt said. No setlist was made available by McCartney representatives, but four song titles have been posted online – “Got to Get You Into My Life,” “Let Me Roll It,” “Paperback Writer” and “Drive My Car.” Just for the occasion, McCartney changed the lyrics of that last song to “Drive My Truck.”